Know your rights October 2017

citizens information

Know Your Rights

A: Funding for college

October 2017

Question

I’m unemployed and planning to go to college. What funding is available for this?

Answer

Most undergraduate students attending publicly funded third-level courses for the first time will qualify for the Free Fees Initiative. You must meet criteria as regards residence, nationality and immigration status, as well as course requirements. If you qualify for free fees, you do not have to pay tuition fees. In addition to fees, there is a separate student contribution, which you pay to the college.

The student grant is the main financial support for students. The grant can cover all or part of your fees (if they are not already covered) and the student contribution and it can also provide some maintenance. To qualify for a grant, you and your course must meet certain criteria and you must pass a means test.

The Back to Education Allowance is available to people who have been getting certain social welfare payments for a set period of time before starting their course. You cannot get a Back to Education Allowance and the maintenance portion of a student grant at the same time. If you are eligible for both, you should find out which would be of more benefit to you.

The Free Fees Initiative, the student grant and the Back to Education Allowance all have rules regarding progression from previous studies. However, there are exceptions. If you intend to start a course at a level you have studied before, you should check whether the rules on progression apply to your situation.

If you do not qualify for the Free Fees Initiative or the student grant, you should find out whether Springboard can help you to return to education. Springboard provides free higher education courses related to specific areas in which there are employment opportunities.

If you have to pay tuition fees and a student contribution, you may qualify for tax relief. You can find out more about sources of funding, including the Student Assistance Fund for students experiencing financial hardship, on studentfinance.ie.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Service below.
 

 

Know Your Rights

B: Flu vaccination

October 2017

Question

I have been recommended to get a flu vaccination. Can I get it for free?

Answer

Influenza, usually known as the flu, is highly infectious and anyone can get it. However some groups are at greater risk of complications if they get the flu. This includes people over the age of 65, pregnant women and people who have a chronic medical condition.

The flu vaccine can help protect you from getting the flu. The flu virus changes every year and this is why there is a new vaccine each year. Vaccination is strongly recommended if you:

  • Are aged 65 and over
  • Have a long-term medical condition such as diabetes, heart, kidney, liver, lung or neurological disease
  • Have an impaired immune system due to disease or treatment
  • Have a body mass index (BMI) over 40
  • Are pregnant
  • Live in a nursing home or other long-stay institution
  • Are a carer or a healthcare worker
  • Have regular contact with poultry, water fowl or pigs

You can get the vaccine from your GP (family doctor) or pharmacist. Children can get the vaccine from a GP.

The vaccine itself is free of charge if you are in one of the recommended groups.

However, doctors and pharmacists may charge a consultation fee when they give you the vaccine.

If you have a medical card or GP visit card, you can get the vaccine without being charged a consultation fee.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Service below.

 

 

Know Your Rights

C: Replacing lead pipes

October 2017

Question

Can we get a grant to replace lead water pipes in our house?

Answer

The local authorities administer a means-tested grant scheme to help low-income households with the cost of replacing lead pipes and fittings.

If your income is below €50,000 a year, you may get a grant of up to 80% of the cost, up to a maximum of €4,000. If your income is between €50,001 and €75,000, you may get up to 50%, up to a maximum of €2,500. You will need to provide evidence of your household’s income when applying to the local authority for the grant.

You must own the premises and live in it as your principal private residence (your main home). You must get the remedial work done before applying for the grant, and it must cost at least €200.

You must have evidence of a risk of lead contamination in your home. This can either be:

  • A letter from your water supplier (Irish Water or a group water scheme), advising that your water system probably contains lead pipes and fittings, or
  • A recent certificate from an accredited laboratory, showing that the level of lead in your water supply is higher than the legal limit

The contractor who does the work must give you the following: a current tax clearance certificate; itemised receipts; written confirmation that the works carried out and the materials used are of an appropriate quality and standard.

You will need to enclose all these documents with your grant application.

If you are an Irish Water customer and you plan to replace your lead piping, you must first apply for Irish Water’s Customer Opt-in Lead Pipe Replacement Scheme.

You may be able to get some tax relief under the Home Renovation Incentive (HRI) scheme even if you get a grant to replace your lead piping – see revenue.ie.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Service below.

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Know Your Rights

D: Benefits for carers

October 2017

Question

I will need to take time out from work to provide full-time care for my father. What is available for people in my situation?

Answer

There are several entitlements available to you. In order for you to qualify, the person you are caring for (your father) must be in need of full-time care and attention.

If you are working at present and will be taking time off to care, you may be eligible for carer’s leave of up to 2 years. You must have worked for your employer for a continuous period of 12 months to qualify for this leave.

While you are on carer’s leave, you are entitled to get credited social insurance contributions to maintain your PRSI record.

You are entitled to annual leave and public holidays in respect of the first 13 weeks of carer’s leave. Your employer cannot dismiss you or victimise you for exercising your right to carer’s leave.

You may also be entitled to Carer’s Benefit from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, if you have enough PRSI contributions to qualify.

If you do not qualify for Carer’s Benefit, you may qualify for a means-tested Carer’s Allowance. If you get Carer’s Allowance, you may be entitled to a Free Travel Pass. If you live with the person you are caring for, you may also qualify for the Household Benefits Package.

There is also an annual Carer’s Support Grant of €1,700, formerly known as the Respite Care Grant, which is paid to full-time carers in June each year. Even if you are not getting any other social welfare payment, you can qualify for this grant if you fulfil the conditions.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Service below.

 

Know Your Rights has been compiled by Co Wicklow Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public. See www.citizensinformation.ie for details of your local centre or phone our main office in Bray on 0761 07 6780

Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.

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